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How to run Paint.NET without administrative permissions and without elevating


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Here's my situation:

  • I'd like to run Paint.NET on a Windows computer where I don't have admin privileges (e.g. college computer).
  • I've tried following the instructions [ https://forums.getpaint.net/topic/113484-paintdotnet-in-a-zip-file-no-installation/ ] to install on another computer and copy across, but I can't do that with my Mac :)

 

There is a solution! (You won't get file associations or a Start Menu icon, but at least you can run it.)

 

First, open cmd (Command Prompt) and run the following:

cd %USERPROFILE%\Downloads
tar -xf paint.net.4.2.16.install.zip
SET __COMPAT_LAYER=RunAsInvoker
paint.net.4.2.16.install.exe

(Note that "tar" is only available from Windows 10 April 2018 Update onwards; if you don't have it, just unzip the file manually.)

 

When you enter the last command, the installer starts running; and if you click "Show Details", you can see it extracting extracting its files to a temp folder.

After all the files are extracted, the installer comes up with a warning:

Administrator privilege is required to install paint.net
                                                    [OK]

Don't click OK on that popup just yet!

 

Open up a Windows Explorer window, and browse to %TEMP% (usually C:\Users\<your_name>\AppData\Local\Temp)

Find the folder called PdnSetup and copy it to C:\Users\<your_name>\Downloads\PdnSetup

Now go back to the warning popup and click OK. The installer will now delete %TEMP%\PdnSetup.

 

Open a new command window, and type in:

cd C:\Users\<your_name>\Downloads\PdnSetup
msiexec /qb /a PaintDotNet_x64.msi TARGETDIR=C:\Users\<your_name>\Downloads\PaintDotNet

 

The installer will now create a portable version of Paint.NET in the target directory specified.

 

You can now run PaintDotNet.exe in C:\Users\<your_name>\Downloads\PaintDotNet

If you plan to use it often, I recommend using "Pin to taskbar" to get quick access.

 

Don't forget to delete the temporary folder PdnSetup, as well as the original paint.net.nnnn.install.zip and paint.net.nnnn.install.exe files.

 

Enjoy!

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